Sickle cell disease and setting goals

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A goal is something that is important to you and that you want to accomplish. You can set a goal for any part of your life, such as your general health, your activity, your social life, your sleep and so on.

Key points

  • Effective goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART).
  • Setting a goal and making a plan will help you see your progress, understand what you can do when things do not work out and give you a better idea of how you can help your teen manage their symptoms.
  • When setting your goals, choose goals that are important to you and that are specific.
  • Make sure to follow through on the steps to reach your goals, but keep in mind that you may sometimes need to adjust your plan if your circumstances change.

The final part of this module is about strategies that may help you set goals. Your teen is also learning about how to set goals in Module 1 of their website.

The information below was also given to your teen, but the tips are also useful for parents.

Why set goals?

When you set a goal, you make a plan for what you will do. This way, you take control of the activity.

Creating a plan will make it easier to see progress, understand what to do when things do not work out, and help you and your teen get a better idea of how to manage sickle cell symptoms.

Set a plan and stick to it but be ready to change it if circumstances change.

Goal setting and planning will help you learn more about what you can do.

How to set goals

It takes practice to create successful goals and plan to achieve them. You can follow the steps below to create some SMART goals to work towards.

Step 1: You can start by asking, “What do I want to do?” and “What are my long-term goals?”

These goals can be simple and general, for example:

  • “Engage in active listening when communicating with my teen.”
  • “Spend more time with the people in my support network.”
  • “Make time for an activity I enjoy to help manage stress.”

Step 2: Break down the ultimate goals into something measurable.

  • Engage in active listening when communicating with my teen: “Ask my teen about their day during dinner each night this week.”
  • Spend more time with the people in my support network: “Visit a friend at least once this weekend.”
  • Make time for an activity I enjoy to help manage stress: “Go for a walk once this week.”

Great! Now you have SMART goals in place.

Step 3: To help start on the SMART goals, break them down into logical steps.

Let’s take the example, “Make time for an activity I enjoy to help manage stress”.

The steps on the way to achieving the goal might look something like this.

  • “Look for a new walking trail in my area.”
  • “Keep my walking shoes by the door.”
  • “Set aside an hour after school/work once every week for walking.”

If you do not enjoy walking or already walk several times a week, it might not be useful to set a goal to walk once a week. Remember, the goals here are just suggestions. It is important to choose goals that are important to you.

The goals should also be specific. For example, "spend more time with the people in my support network” is a general goal, but “visit a friend every weekend" is more specific. Saying how often you would like certain behaviours to happen makes the goal more specific and helps keep track of progress.

How to work toward your goals

Several things can help you and your teen reach your goals.

  • Think about things that have stopped you from achieving goals before.
  • Make a plan to remove any of these barriers.
  • Follow through!
Last updated: February 21st 2024